The taxi hail may be an international signal, but Alipay’s newest mini program“Overseas Taxi” (境外打车) means Chinese travelers will no longer need to linger awkwardly on the curb when travelling abroad. “Overseas Taxi” offers Alipay customers the convenience of Chinese-interface and the ability to pay in RMB through an APP already used by 700 million Chinese. The platform will initially serve travelers in 33 cities across 10 countries by integrating local taxi services such as Lyft, Gett, Taxify, and Grab onto a single platform.
“Consumers don’t want 100 different apps,” Kiki Wu, Director of Business Development at Alipay’s Cross-Border Business, told KrAsia, “this brand-new taxi hailing mini-program makes it possible to search, book and pay for taxi rides in our users’ native currency.” The first batch includes popular destinations for Chinese tourists in the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, and the Philippines with the tech-services and online-payment giant hoping to extend the service in more than 100 cities and 20 countries by the end of 2019.
Alipay’s latest offering aims to mitigate problems revealed by its recently released “Survey on the Chinese Outbound Travelers Taxi Spending” (“中国人出境游打车消费小调查”). Despite the fact 76 percent of respondents had downloaded local taxi apps for their trip, the survey highlighted dissatisfaction among Chinese overseas travelers in areas including payment, language, and ride experience. With 37 percent of respondents noting severe language problems when communicating with drivers, 34 percent admitting anxiety about being cheated, and 19 percent struggling to use local apps due to lack of Chinese language, Alipay’s “Overseas Taxi” is a timely addition a Chinese tourist’s toolkit.
With over 900 million users worldwide, Alipay has made a push in recent years to help facilitate outbound Chinese travelers, estimated to exceed 150 million in 2019, use the mobile payment system outside of China. The number of European merchants accepting Alipay tripled in the past year, museums and cultural institutions are increasingly accepting Alipay, and 69 percent of Chinese travellers use mobile payment at some point of their travels.